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Cyber Check-In: Print Your Own Boarding Pass

(January 28, 2003)

With the expansion of self-service kiosks, airlines are going one step further in changing the definition of "checking in." Several major airlines are offering the ultimate time-saving convenience: printing your own boarding passes from comfort of your home or office.

Travelers on Alaska, American, Delta, Northwest and US Airways can now log online and take advantage of this do-it-yourself convenience. Online boarding passes are only available to customers utilizing e-tickets, and some airlines require customers to have a frequent flyer account. To entice travelers to use online check-in, Alaska Airlines is offering 500 frequent flyer miles for every online check-in through March 31, 2003. After that date, first-time Alaska web check-in users will receive a one-time bonus of 1000 miles.

Using the system isn't difficult, but it does require some familiarization and set-up time as each airline's process is different. The following information shows each carrier's requirements:

  • Alaska Airlines- Offers check in within 30 hours and up to 60 minutes prior to departure. The service is only available to e-ticket holders flying on domestic flights. If you have luggage, just check it curbside (available at most airports) or with an Alaska agent. Seattle passengers utilizing web check in have their own luggage check-in service called Web Bag Drop.
  • American Airlines - Offers check in within twelve hours and up to 60 minutes prior to departure. The service is only available to AAdvantage® members using e-tickets on domestic flights, including Alaska and Hawaii, and San Juan, Puerto Rico. If you have luggage, just check it curbside (available at most airports) or with an American Airlines airport agent.
  • Delta Air Lines - Offers check in within six hours and up to 30 minutes prior to departure. The service is only available to SkyMile® members flying with an e-ticket within the U.S, including San Juan and St. Thomas. If you aren't a SkyMile's® member you can enroll online and instantly get a number. If you have luggage, just check it curbside (available at most airports).
  • Northwest Airlines- Offers check in within 30 hours and up to 90 minutes prior to departure. Online check in is available for customers using e-tickets on domestic flights, and also flights to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Asia and Europe (except Amsterdam flights). If you have luggage, just check it curbside (available at most airports) or with a Northwest airport agent.
  • US Airways - Offers check in within six hours and up to 90 minutes prior to departure. This feature is available to e-ticketed customers on domestic flights (including San Juan). If you have luggage, just check it curbside (available at most airports) or with a US Airways airport agent.
Continental will join the aforementioned carriers in mid-February when they launch their online domestic check-in. United Airlines is the only major carrier not expected to offer this service in the near future. However, a spokesperson stated they are "evaluating different technologies."

Clearly, checking in at home is easy, convenient and definitely the quickest way through the airport.

Related AnitaVacation Features:

Meet The Kiosks - All you ever wanted to know about checking yourself in at the airport.

Airport Check-In: How Long Will You Wait? - What to know before heading off to the airport.


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